Friday, June 29, 2012

The Liberty Bell: Let Freedom Ring! by Robert Hieronimus with Laura Cortney

In celebration of the upcoming Independence day holiday in the US we thought we'd share an excerpt from The United Symbolism of America: Deciphering hidden meanings in America's Most Familiar Art, Architecture, and Logos.

America is young, but its symbols are old. Of the symbols and myths we chose since European colonization, the ones that have become American icons are those representing hope, positive growth, and opportunity. Here we take a look at Chapter 5 which discusses the Liberty bell.

When people are happy, they sing and shout. They ring bells, they honk horns, and they lift up their voices to the Lord. It is understandable that a bell would become famous for doing its duty when that duty was to help the new nation celebrate its new nationhood. Unlike the other symbols in this book the Liberty Bell was not chosen or designed or deliberated upon as a symbol, but rather, it became famous because of its participation in the Revolution. Created several decades before the Revolution, the Liberty Bell was rung to announce the noteworthy passages leading up to the Revolution and then throughout the early formation of the new government that followed. It was not until long after the Revolution that the Liberty Bell received its familiar crack and, around the same time, its new nickname. When we ponder how the old State House bell in Philadelphia became “the Liberty Bell,” we realize how closely tied together are bell-ringing, celebrations, and announcements about freedom. So much so that freedom itself would soon be described as “ringing” from every mountainside in this “sweet land of liberty.”

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!
—Samuel Francis Smith, 1831

As with so many of our traditional American icons, the history of the Liberty Bell is somewhat sketchy, though the colorful legends have become firmly established in our collective consciousness. We will examine how one grew into the other, and why the bell is such a perfect symbol for liberty and freedom in the American ideal. We will also look at how this particular bell was recognized and used as an energizing totem for rousing Americans’ pride, patriotism, and collective spirits. It was a natural choice as a symbol for both the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements, and many, many other groups, causes, and products since then.

Throughout history, bells have been used to gather people for announcements, help with emergencies, celebrate public holidays, and aid in worship services. The sounds and the vibrations they make, especially as they slowly reverberate into silence, can be useful in altering the human brain waves to enter a more relaxed state of consciousness, where one can attain union with their God. We will examine the Liberty Bell on this level as well, as a functional object designed to create sound. Our fundamentalist-conspiratorialist friends have had a hard time finding reasons to criticize this American symbol, but, by employing semantic skullduggery, they found a way, as we’ll see at the end of this chapter.

The Beginnings of the Liberty Bell

Until the early 1800s, the Liberty Bell was known as the State House bell of Pennsylvania, or its first nickname, the Old Independence Bell. It was originally commissioned in 1751 to replace the bell hanging in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House, which had just been built in 1746. Today we know this building as Independence Hall. The Pennsylvania Assembly discovered that the original bell was not loud enough to be heard all over Philadelphia, and in 1750 a committee was formed to see about getting a new bell.

The Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background at dusk. Notice the inscription includes the names of the Americans who recast the bell the second and third time, “Pass and Stow.” ©

Pennsylvania was always ahead of its time, thanks to the determination and values of its founder, William Penn. One of the first Quakers, Penn was interested in protecting religious freedoms of all kinds in his new territory, and people from other persecuted religious sects moved there in droves. Penn’s revolutionary Charter of Privileges of 1701 is considered a precursor to the U.S. Constitution because, with it, Penn gave up his family’s rights of absolute power, and granted them to the people instead. Pennsylvanians were among the first in the country to proclaim the need for independence from Great Britain, and yet their pacifistic streaks were so strong that the delegates from Pennsylvania nearly kept the Declaration of Independence from passing in an attempt to avoid armed conflict. They were also advanced in their beliefs on slavery, and from the beginning many Pennsylvanians worked hard to abolish it in their neighboring states.

Some historians have supposed that William Penn’s Charter of Privileges for Pennsylvania that passed in 1701 was the event described in the Bible quote inscribed on the Liberty Bell. It reads: “Proclaim Liberty thro’ all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof.” Decades after the bell was installed, someone with a flair for a colorful story looked at the complete verse from Leviticus 25:10 that surrounds the excerpt inscribed on the bell. All together it reads, “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family” (King James Version). They looked back approximately 50 years from the date on the bell and discovered William Penn’s significant charter was dated 1701. They matched that up with the year that the Liberty Bell was commissioned, 1751, and decided that “hallow the fiftieth year” from the earlier part of the verse must tie the inscription to the Charter.

Doesn’t it sound great to learn that the origins of the Liberty Bell reveal something of Americans’ spunkiness for independence dating all the way back to 1701? Unfortunately, this conclusion is probably wishful thinking. The origins of the Liberty Bell are most likely nothing more than a utilitarian need for a bigger bell that could be heard all over the capital city when it was time to be summoned to a meeting. Many of the State House records still exist, and there is no indication that the bell committee formed in 1750 was marking any kind of anniversary, 50th or otherwise. All the records talk about replacing the smaller bell with the intended purpose of getting a larger sound. Also, they directed the original inscription on the bell to read 1752, not 1751. 1752 was the year they thought they would install the bell, though, as we shall see, that didn’t happen.

History and Legend

Townsfolk are generally proud of their steeple bells to begin with, but this one in Philadelphia became an object of admiration even more than most, due to the sheer fact of its location in time. The State House in Philadelphia was a center of power for the early Revolution, and the signal bell in its steeple announced events significant to all the Colonies. From 1790 to 1800 Philadelphia was the temporary capital of the entire nation, and, as the new national government took shape, the State House bell in Philadelphia rang out time after time to mark new advancements. Long before the war, the bell was ringing to mark the steps towards independence. When Ben Franklin was sent on his first negotiation trip to England in 1757, the State House bell rang. When Philadelphians were summoned to oppose the Stamp Act or the Tea Tax, or to learn of the battles of Lexington and Concord or the blockade of Boston, it was from the ringing of the State House bell.

Although the State House bell in Philadelphia was originally created to call the Pennsylvania council members to Assembly, in this eventful time it was ringing so often that in 1772 the citizens of the neighboring streets petitioned the Assembly for more peace; the frequent tolling was disrupting their lives. In 1777, as the British advanced on Philadelphia, the bell was evacuated, along with all other metal sources of potential cannon fodder for the British. It waited out the war in the basement of a church in the nearby Allentown, returning in time to be rung for the signing of the Constitution in 1787. It rang every year after that to mark the visits or the deaths of important people, the 4th of July, and the 22nd of February for Washington’s Birthday, until it cracked beyond repair in 1846.

Despite one of its more popular legends, however, the State House bell did not ring to mark the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July 1776. In fact, no bells or other celebration occurred to mark that date, as nothing much happened, other than this hugely important document was signed by its first two official signatories and sent to the printer. The historic voting had occurred on July 2nd, which is the day the bell ringer would have been ringing the bell in joy if the 1847 fictional romance tale by George Lippard were true. Lippard’s tale, fully disclosed as fictional, also had the bell receiving its famous crack on the 4th of July 1776, and, because his colorful story was mistakenly repeated elsewhere as fact, for a long time this legend was believed as truth.

The State House bell might have rung four days later on the 8th of July 1776, to summon Philadelphians for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. There is no official documentation to indicate that it did not ring on the 8th of July, but recent historians have also called into question the participation of the State House bell in this equally historic moment. Philadelphians were definitely summoned by bells on July 8th to hear a reading of Thomas Jefferson’s finest, but we’re not absolutely sure that the State House bell was among the bells doing the summoning. The records of the Pennsylvania Assembly as early as 1774 indicated that the steeple housing the bell was rotting and in serious need of repair. It has not been proven, however, that the State House bell was out of commission on July 8, 1776. All of the diaries and letters written about that momentous day were similar to that of John Adams, saying, “the bells rang all day and almost all night.” No one said, “All the bells except the State House bell.”

The Crack

There are many other legends explaining the famous crack, but there’s only one unquestionably true story about a crack in what was soon to be called the Liberty Bell,. The first State House bell really did crack on the very first strike of the clapper upon its arrival in this country in 1752. The bell we know today is actually the third version of itself after having been twice melted down and recast. The bell was originally ordered from the Whitechapel Foundry in England and it took almost a year to arrive. Before it was installed in the steeple in late 1752, the head of the bell-ordering committee, Isaac Norris, hung it temporarily in the square to test its tone. He wrote that he was mortified when upon the first swing, the bell cracked.

They immediately set about making a new bell, and decided to contract two local foundry workers, John Pass and John Stow, to completely melt down the bell and recast it. Pass and Stow added more copper in an attempt to strengthen it, and this may have affected the tone. When they hung it back up to test it again, no one liked the sound it made. The townspeople complained so much, in fact, that Pass and Stow agreed to try again. A third time they melted the bell down and fiddled with the balance of the metals before recasting it. They also added their names to the inscription and the year that it was by then: 1753. Everyone agreed the tone was not greatly improved, but they hung it up in the steeple anyway.

Thanks to the World Wide Web you can listen right now to how this bell probably sounded before it cracked by clicking on the audio clip at The Normandy Liberty Bell, cast in 2004 as an exact replica of the Pass and Stow bell, was made in honor of the 60th anniversary of the storming of Normandy in World War II.

The earliest contemporary written record referring to the trademark crack is from 1846 when it cracked beyond repair. The Philadelphia Public Ledger reported on February 26, 1846, that on Washington’s Birthday a few days earlier, “The old Independence Bell rang its last clear note on Monday last in honor of the birthday of Washington.” They added that the irreparable crack was an extension of an earlier hairline crack that had been sustained at an unknown previous date:

It had been cracked before but was set in order of that day by having the edges of the fracture filed so as not to vibrate against each other... It gave out clear notes and loud, and appeared to be in excellent condition until noon, when it received a sort of compound fracture in a zig-zag direction through one of its sides which put it completely out of tune and left it a mere wreck of what it was.

Over the years, many different eyewitnesses claimed to have been present when the first hairline fracture appeared. Unfortunately, all were reported decades after the fact, and none are supported by contemporary written accounts. It is possible that one or more of the eyewitnesses are telling the truth, as the crack likely worsened with subsequent uses. For a long time it was popular to believe the Liberty Bell first cracked during the funeral of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall in 1835. Earlier claims have dated it, however, to Lafayette’s return visit to Philadelphia in 1824, or the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1828, or Washington’s Birthday in 1835. The only one that made the newspaper was the one that put it out of commission in February 1846. As that report mentioned, the large “crack” we are all so familiar with is actually what was drilled out in an attempt to keep the two sides of the earlier crack from reverberating against each other.

Historical Symbolism

The Liberty Bell is still rung today, or rather, it is symbolically tapped, on every 4th of July. The honor is given to children who are descendants of signers of the Declaration of Independence. By the time of its retirement, the bell was becoming linked in the public mind with the Revolution and independence. After languishing in limbo for a few years, the bell was lowered and given a place of honor.

Robert Hieronimus, Ph.D., is a historian, visual artist, and radio host. His research has been used by the White House, State Department, published in the Congressional Record, and shared with the late Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat. He has made a lifetime study of the symbols of secret societies and other American legends, and his 2006 book, Founding Fathers, Secret Societies, was featured repeatedly on the History and National Geographic Channels and on TV shows in Germany and South Africa. His weekly program, 21st Century Radio with Dr. Bob Hieronimus, broadcasts New Paradigm topics across the United States.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Positive News of the Week

World's Oldest Siblings

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Ring Tone Brings Hope

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Life Savings Saved by Recycling Plant

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Kidney Donor found through Facebook

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Transplanted Veins grown from Stem Cells

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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Pentagon's Search for Noah's Ark by Nick Redfern

Today we're going to share an excerpt from Nick Redfern's newest release - The Pyramids and the Pentagon.

The Pyramids and the Pentagon is a detailed study of how and why government agencies have, for decades, taken a clandestine and profound interest in numerous archeological, historical, and religious puzzles.The strange and amazing secrets of the past are just a heavily guarded government vault away. This section comes from Chapter 3: Secrets of the Ark: The Ark on Film.

On the early morning of June 17, 1949, a United States Air Force crew quietly and secretly took to the skies from a military base in Europe on a clandestine and dicey mission. It was a mission that ultimately proved to be historic in the extreme. Perhaps even beyond historic. The plan was to carefully photograph what American Intelligence learned was a disturbing and rapid build-up in Soviet military facilities and weapons on land extremely close to the border of Turkey.

The crew’s classified flight was destined to take it over the huge, near-17,000-foot-high, snow-covered Mt. Ararat – something which turned out to be a life-changing, historic experience for all of the men aboard the plane, and that has secretly occupied the finest minds of the Pentagon, the CIA, the military, and a host of other intelligence-gathering agencies ever since. Although certainly none could even have guessed what the future would bring when the crew first took to the skies.

When the aircraft reached a height of around 14,000 feet, the chief photographer aboard was amazed and shocked to see what appeared to be nothing less than a gargantuan, intelligently-designed craft of some sort – seemingly no less than an incredible 500-feet in length, and possibly even as long as 600-feet - partially protruding from the depths of the thick layer of ice that was dominating Mt. Ararat’s south west face.

The crew, as dumbfounded as they were certainly excited, hastily maneuvered the aircraft in a concerted effort to try and secure a far better viewing of the extraordinary object in their midst, which they most certainly did. The pilot, skillfully albeit somewhat tentatively, closed in on the vast structure, while the rest of the men quickly scrambled and craned for a closer look.

Incredibly, as the pilot then turned the plane and focused his attention on this second puzzle on the mountain, all aboard could see that it seemed to resemble the wing of an aircraft that had become trapped within the thick ice and snow. But, if it really the wing of an aircraft, then it most certainly belonged to no ordinary plane.Size-wise it easily eclipsed anything that either the Americans or the Russians were flying at the time. The wing was huge. Photographs were quickly taken – and, unsurprisingly, very soon thereafter received the ominous stamp of secrecy and then summarily vanished, for decades, no less, into the shadowy and Machiavellian heart of officialdom. The U.S. Government’s secret study of Noah’s Ark and its attendant mountain of mystery had just begun. But it would not be too long before there were further, extraordinary developments in the saga of Noah’s Ark that really made the Pentagon sit up and take secret, careful notice.

Nick Redfern is the author of more than 20 books, including The NASA Conspiracies, The Real Men in Black, Keep Out!, Contactees, and Memoirs of a Monster Hunter (all published by New Page Books). He has appeared on numerous TV shows, including the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, Monster Quest, and UFO Hunters; the BBC’s Out of This World; the SyFy Channel’s Proof Positive; the National Geographic Channel’s Paranatural; and MSNBC’s Countdown. 
Nick is the co-host, with Raven Meindel, of the weekly radio show Exploring All Realms. He lives in Arlington, Texas and can be reached through his website.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Creature of the Month - The Kappa by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart

The word Kappa comes from the Kanto region of Japan, and translates as “child of the river.” They are also called Kawatarō (“river-boy”) or Kawako (“river-child”). Other names cite its resemblance to a monkey (Enko), a soft-shelled turtle (Dangame), or an otter (Kawaso); still others reference its traits (Komahiki, “horse puller”). A hair-covered variation of a Kappa is called a Hyōsube. In Shinto they are considered to be one of many Suijin (water Kami, or spirit creatures). Suijin commonly possess magical powers, which can be used for either benevolent or malevolent purposes.

The earliest recorded account of a Kappa is in the Nihon Shoki (“The Chronicles of Japan”), completed around 720 CE. According to this ancient text, in 379 CE a Kappa inhabited the Kahashima River in the Province of Kibi where its toxic slime poisoned the water drunk by passers-by. It was killed by the district warden, “a man of fierce temper and great bodily strength.”

In Japanese Shinto tradition, Kappas are malevolent water spirits who pull little children into the water to drown and devour them, and attack travelers and animals. These amphibious creatures dwell in lakes, rivers, and ponds, and are typically described as roughly humanoid in form, about the size of a 6-10-year-old child. They have webbed fingers and toes with five digits, frog-like legs, simian bodies with mottled green, blue, or yellowish-brown scales, and are sometimes depicted with a turtle shell on their backs. Some are shown with long-haired monkey faces, and some with turtle beaks or duck bills. They are said to smell like fish, and they can certainly swim like them.

Fig. 1. 12 types of Kappa. Drawing from mid-19th century Suiko juni-hin no zu

(“Illustrated Guide to 12 Types of Kappa”) by artist Kurimoto Tanshu (1756-1834).
Source: National Diet Library, Tokyo, Japan.

Kappas cannot live for long out of the water, for they must always keep their heads wet. They are said to have lilypad-like bowls or depressions atop their heads filled with a fluid which maintains their life force, magickal powers, and physical strength. Kappa are obsessive about decorum, and if you bow to one, it will politely bow back—and thus spill the fluid, rendering it immobile and helpless. Pouring water from the river back into the hollow restores the Kappa’s power, and renders it subservient to the pourer.

Kappa are troublesome creatures and like to play malicious pranks. These range from the relatively innocent, such as loudly farting or looking up women’s kimonos, to the malevolent, such as drowning people, kidnapping children, and raping and even impregnating women. The offspring of Kappas and human women were said to be repulsive, and were generally buried alive.

Kappas will ruin or steal crops, and will eat both children and adults if given the chance. Kappa are also said to attack animals, especially horses; the motif of the Kappa trying to drown horses is found all over Japan. Even today, signs warning about Kappa appear by bodies of water in some Japanese towns and villages.

Kappa live on blood and cucumbers, and are even said to fly through the air on enchanted cucumbers with dragonfly wings. In fact, they prefer cucumbers even to blood. Bribe a Kappa with a cucumber and it will promise you almost anything. And once a promise is made the Kappa is honor-bound to keep it.

Kappas are intelligent and curious creatures and find humans interesting as well as tasty. If provided with suitable offerings, they can be befriended by wise men. Once befriended, Kappas have been known to perform any number of tasks for human beings, such as helping farmers irrigate their land. Kappa are even credited with having taught the art of bonesetting to humans. Due to these benevolent aspects, there are shrines dedicated to the worship of particularly helpful Kappas.

Kappas can understand and speak Japanese, and they sometimes challenge those they encounter to various tests of skill, such as shogi or sumo wrestling. Japanese parents sometimes write the names of their children (or themselves) on cucumbers and toss them into waters believed to be infested with Kappas to propitiate the creatures and allow the family to bathe. There is even a kind of cucumber-filled sushi roll named for the Kappa, the kappamaki. Bobbed hairstyles that look like the Kappa’s hair are called Okappa, and the traditional straw raincoats worn by farmers are known as Kappa.

As with other reptiles and amphibians, Kappas become sluggish in cold weather and hibernate during the winter. There are said to be two distinct species: those that dwell in lowland waters, and others, called Yamawaro, that live in mountain streams. Although Kappa are reported throughout all of Japan, they are often said to be particular to the Saga Prefecture.

A Kappa was reportedly captured along Mito Beach in 1801. A drawing of the Mito Kappa (Fig. 2) depicts a scaly simian creature with 5-clawed webbed feet, a shelled back and long, sharp teeth.

Fig. 2.  Drawing of a Kappa which was caught in a net on Mito east beach in 1836.

Height about 3 feet, weight 100 pounds.

Several possibilities have been proposed as to what the Kappa actually is. Some say the term “Kappa” was first applied to “leech babies” (stillborn infants pitched into the river). “In olden times, poor families often killed newborns because they could not afford to raise them,” said an official from Tono City in a Yomiuri Shimbun article. “They generally threw their bodies into rivers. Perhaps adults made up Kappa stories so that children would be afraid to go near the rivers and see the dead babies” (a category of fabled creatures called “nursery bogies”).

Other historians claim that the term “Kappa” originated in the 16th century with the arrival in Japan of Capuchin monks from Portugal. Their cloaks had hoods that hung down their backs like the Kappa’s tortoise shell, and the monk’s distinctive shaven pate surrounded by hair resembled the Kappa’s hair-rimmed crater of water. Capa, the Portuguese word for the monk’s habit, was applied to the Suijin.

Some say the Kappa are derived from monkeys, particularly the writer Yanagida Kunio (1875-1962), who noted that in some areas in Japan the Kappa is known as Enko, the term for “monkey.” In Geishu City, Hiroshima Prefecture, locals say a monster named Kawazaru (“River Monkey”) lives in the waters there, attacking both men and animals. Said to possess the might of 100 men, its power evaporates if the water atop its saucer-like head is spilled. It is possible that Kappa may be a distorted form of Kapi, which means “monkey” in Sanskrit.

Most cryptozoologists, however, believe that the legendary Kappa is actually the rare Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) or hanzaki, a huge and aggressive amphibian with powerful jaws for seizing prey. It can grow to a length of five feet, and although primarily a fish-eater, it is quite capable of catching and devouring small children. It is a long-lived species, with the captive record being an individual that lived in the Natura Artis Magistra, the Netherlands, for 52 years. In the wild they may live for nearly 80 years. The second largest salamander in the world, the hanzaki is only surpassed in size by the closely-related Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) which may reach an astonishing six feet in length!

Fig. 3. Japanese Giant Salamander

Encyclopedia Brittanica online, “Kappa,”
Encyclopedia Mythica, “Kappa,”
Foster, Michael Dylan (1998) The Metamorphosis of the Kappa: Transformation of Folklore to Folklorism in Japan, Asian Folklore Studies, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture. 
OnMark Productions, “Kappa: River Imp, Water Sprite,”
The Sword in the Stone, “Japanese Giant Salamander,”
Wikipedia, “Kappa,”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Weird News of the Week

Spiral in the Sky

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Outlaw of Public Swearing

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High Tech takes on Yoga

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Why Would Aliens Come to Earth?
by Stanton T. Friedman

Since we're heading into the summer months and UFO conference time I thought we'd share an excerpt from  author Stanton T. Friedman's Flying Saucers and Science: A Scientist Investigates the Mysteries of UFOs.

Flying Saucers and Science is a comprehensive look at the scientific data on the flying saucer phenomenon. Nuclear physicist and lecturer Stanton T. Friedman has distilled more than 40 years of research on UFOs, and shares his work on a wide variety of classified advanced nuclear and space systems. He answers a number of physics questions  in layman’s terms, and establishes that travel to nearby stars is within reach without violating the laws of physics.  This section comes from Chapter 6: The UFO "Why" Questions

Why Would Aliens Come to Earth?

In a paper I wrote 32 years ago, I listed 25 reasons for aliens to come to Earth, from the sublime to the ridiculous. After all, although we do know a lot about how governments behave, and, sometimes, even understand their motivations, we can only speculate about the motivations of aliens.

We can get some clues from the myriad of activities reported in abduction books by Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs, Yvonne Smith, and Ray Fowler. Certainly, as described in Captured!, we can get a good glimpse, because of the extensive efforts of Dr. Benjamin Simon, to determine what was done to Betty and Barney Hill, and the behavior of those particular aliens. I have not spoken with any aliens, and might be wary of believing any clues they might give.

I think aliens have many reasons to visit us, partly because I am convinced that there are many civilizations in the local neighborhood. The SETI specialists, as noted in Chapter 5, seem to think, with each passing year during which they (not surprisingly) don’t pick up any radio or optical signals, that there is no one around in the local neighborhood. Dr. Seth Shostak, one of the loudest voices in the SETI cult, noted that distances between adjacent civilizations, even assuming there are lots of them out there, are measured in hundreds of light-years—a truly extraordinary claim. In the first place, he has no data on any civilization out there. Not one. In the second place, there are roughly 2,000 stars within a mere 54 light-years, roughly 16,000 within 100 light-years, and 128,000 within 200 light-years. The incredible and entirely baseless implication is that no civilization even as “advanced” as ours is within 200 light-years! That means we are extraordinarily unique, despite our star, the sun, being run-of-the mill, and besides there being about 50 sun-like stars in the local neighborhood (within 54 light-years). We have already, despite the primitive nature of our instrumentation, discovered about 290 exoplanets. Also, we are well aware that although the nearest star to the sun is 4.3 light-years away, Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 Reticuli (39.2 light-years from us) are only an eighth of a light-year apart from each other, and a billion years older than the sun. I am absolutely certain that within hundreds of light-years there are other pairs of sun-like stars that are relatively near to each other, and at least as old as the sun.

Having near neighbors provides a huge incentive for interstellar travel, compared to our situation. A far more logical conclusion than Shostak’s is that advanced civilizations, as discussed in Chapter 5, are simply not using our type of radio or laser communication anymore, if they ever did. Why would they send us messages, and why would we think we can predict their communication techniques? After all, we don’t use Wright Brothers–type airplanes anymore...

I travel a lot, as does Seth Shostak, to lecture and educate and communicate. Some people travel to visit, do business, perform, compete, or hide. When Charles Lindbergh flew solo to France in May 1927, his 33.5-hour trip was unique, and he won a huge (for the time) prize of $25,000. Nowadays, 10 million or so people cross the Atlantic each year. Practically none but the pilots on the huge airliners making the journey are intrepid flyers as was Lindbergh. In other words, it seems pretty clear that the number of people traveling between point A and point B is very much dependent on how long it takes, how frequent the flights are, and what they cost. The cheaper and faster, the more travelers and the easier it is to find an excuse for making the trip. Many million people per year fly to tourist centers such as Las Vegas, Hawaii, and Paris. We must also look to our own past to trips, often difficult ones, made by large numbers of people to hard-to-reach places. Think of those seeking gold in California in 1849, or in Alaska in 1897–1898. In contrast, think of sports fans today flying to the World Series, or to soccer or hockey championships. Plane loads of tourists fly from Japan to Prince Edward Island every summer to see Anne of Green Gables, the Canadian musical, because they consider it a Japanese story. They wouldn’t if they had to go by a slow boat. It is easy to forget that Magellan’s ship took three years to go around the world. Now, the International Space Station flies around the world about every 90 minutes. It covers the distance of Lindbergh’s flight in less than 15 minutes. A hundred years ago, millions of immigrants came from Europe and Asia to the United States. It wasn’t a fun trip, especially in steerage. I enjoyed a weeklong voyage on the Queen Elizabeth 2 from Southampton to New York. I gave three lectures to earn my way, as did Shostak. We wouldn’t have done so if the trip had been the hardship it was for, say, Columbus to travel to the New World in 1492.

Think of how confusing it must have been for natives of the new world trying to make sense of the various groups of white men visiting in their large ships for the next 300 years. There were people from Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, Italy, England, and more. Some were there to find gold. Some were looking for new lands for their kings. Some were looking to convert the Heathens. Some were looking for new commercial goods to take back, such as potatoes and tobacco. Some of the first settlers in Georgia and Australia came from debtors’ prisons. My grandparents and many others came from Eastern Europe in the time frame between 1900 and 1910 to evade the oppression under the Czar and to make new homes for their families. Their passage took much longer and was far less comfortable than was mine.

I believe it is useful, in dealing with claims of the noisy negativists that there would be no reason for advanced beings to come here, to review what is special about Earth.

1. It is at this time the only planet in the solar system mostly covered with water.

2. It is the only planet in the solar system to have a high level of oxygen in the atmosphere.

3. It is the densest planet in the solar system (not the heaviest or the biggest). On average, a cubic centimeter of the Earth weighs more than a cubic centimeter of any other planet in our solar system. This means that one would expect to find a greater abundance of heavy metals here than on any of the other planets.  We know from star spectra that heavy metals are fairly rare in the galaxy. By heavy metals I mean such elements as uranium, gold, tungsten, osmium, rhenium, platinum, and so on. They are much denser than lead, and many have special properties, some of which were unknown even 100 years ago. The major use for uranium back then was as a yellow coloring agent for glazing china dishes! Zirconium and titanium are comparatively light metals, but also have properties of no interest a century ago. The piping and plumbing in nuclear submarines and other nuclear-powered vessels is mostly made of zirconium alloys, because of its combination of low neutroncapture cross-section and corrosion resistance. Neutrons were not even discovered until 1932. Titanium is a relatively light but strong metal, used, for example, in the high-speed SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft, and in cases for laptop computers. An entire new metal-forming industry was created for each of these metals.

4. It should further be noted that there are many resources, such as metallic nodules, at the bottom of the oceans. Many diamonds that have been recovered off the coast of Africa have special properties (besides beauty). A wide variety of interesting poisons and potentially beneficial biological agents have been recovered from sea creatures, and certain biological materials (drugs, for example) have an enormous value per pound.

5. Earth has a wide variety of plant and animal life conceivably of interest to other-worlders for improving their stocks.

6. With many different races and more than 6 billion earthlings, there is a huge variety of human genetic combinations. For example, we have been improving domestic animals by crossbreeding
and artificial insemination. Soon it will be by cloning and genetic manipulation. Aliens might be doing a huge survey of gene combinations, looking for the unusual characteristics that can improve or harm hybridization activities.

7. Many genetic diseases are relatively rare, occurring in only one in a thousand, 10,000, or million earthlings. Aliens would have to pick up a host of specimens to find the special ones.

8. The Earth-moon combination is unique in the solar system. The moon is larger, compared to the Earth, than is any other planetary satellite compared to its planet. Because it keeps the same face toward the Earth, the other side would be a great location for an alien communication system to contact other bases, with no background interference from the Earth, as well as a good place for huge mother ships, because it has no atmosphere, as opposed to the much higher surface gravity and dense atmosphere of the Earth.

9. From a tourist viewpoint, Earth has many fine and remote locations for hunting, fishing, swimming, hiking, and mountain climbing for air-breathing creatures. Unique within the solar system, Earth, throughout the last 100 years, has rapidly increased its production of radio, TV,
and radar signals that leave the planet and provide information (as well as infomercials) to visiting intelligence agents.

Stanton T. Friedman has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Physics from the University of Chicago. He has lectured on “Flying Saucers ARE Real!” to more than 700 college and professional audiences in 50 states, 9 provinces, and 16 other countries, and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs including CBS Sunday Morning, Larry King Live, Nightline, and Unsolved Mysteries. 
Friedman has worked on classified, advanced technology programs for such companies as GE, GM, and Westinghouse. He has done research at 20 government document archives, authored TOP SECRET/MAJIC about Operation Majestic 12, and coauthored Crash at Corona: The Definitive Study of the Roswell Incident. He was the original civilian investigator of that very important event, and also coauthored Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience with Kathleen Marden, Betty Hill’s niece.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Positive News of the Week

A Reason to Smile

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The Definition of a Champion

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Friday, June 8, 2012

A.D. After Disclosure: Living with the Truth of Alien Contact
by Richard M. Dolan and Bryce Zabel

What if UFO secrecy ended tomorrow? The transition from B.C. (Before Confirmation) to A.D. (After Disclosure) is the ultimate “what if?” scenario in which the calendar is reset and history begins again.

This work of speculative non-fiction combines meticulous fact-finding from historian/researcher Richard M. Dolan and forward-leaning scenarios from journalist/screenwriter Bryce Zabel on the world’s most mind-bending subject. The authors predict radical changes after official acknowledgment that at least some UFOs are intelligently controlled craft from somewhere other than Earth. A.D. After Disclosure isn’t afraid to make mind-blowing, specific predictions.

Here we share a portion of Chapter 7 entitled Paradigm Shift: Our New Place in the Universe.  This section specifically speaks of the reaction of major world religions to finding out that beings from other worlds do indeed exist.

The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the Earth, the continents,and the oceans was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. 
—Daniel J. Boorstin

There are times in human history when new information and new revelations can transform the world. Ideas that had been held as timeless truths can shatter overnight. In our world, Disclosure will be that trigger. It will usher in a time comparable to the era of Copernicus and Galileo, when humankind first realized that the universe did not revolve around the Earth.

The word paradigm was coined by the philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn, in his 1962 study, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He used it to describe a coherent theory of reality. When scientists obtain data that fails to conform to the dominant paradigm, the data are considered anomalies and normally discarded. Kuhn agreed that sometimes this is reasonable to do, but when too many anomalies litter a paradigm, something is wrong. Every now and then, a great thinker comes along who sees the world differently. This new vision makes sense of the anomalies and incorporates them into a larger, more complete, more accurate paradigm. Newton was such a thinker, said Kuhn. So was Einstein.

In this chapter, we discuss how the impact of Disclosure will affect the dominant paradigms in scientific thinking, as well as that other great interpreter of reality, religion.

Five centuries ago, it was the religious institutions that resisted the paradigm shift. The issue was whether the universe was Earth-centered or Sun-centered. The Polish astronomer, Nicolas Copernicus, was so fearful of Church reprisals to his great work on this subject, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, that it was published only after he died in 1543. It was an important theological issue, because the Catholic Church had taken a stand on the matter. The Church maintained that, as God had made humankind the centerpiece of his Creation, mankind’s world was at the center of the universe. Science, however, made it clear that this was not so.

Incidentally, the issue of extraterrestrial life was raised at around the same time, and received even greater resistance. The Italian scientist and free-thinker, Giordano Bruno, had the audacity to believe that the stars were in fact like Earth’s own Sun (he was the first known person to argue this). He believed in the existence of other worlds and of other beings created by God. In other words, Bruno said that there were extraterrestrials in our universe and that they, too, were God’s children. His reward was to be imprisoned for seven years, then burned alive for heresy in the year 1600.

During most of the ensuing centuries, Christianity in general has been silent on the matter of extraterrestrial life. Since the modern UFO era began, however, we have seen interesting developments on the matter. Christianity is a large umbrella, encompassing an impressive number of branches and sects, and its adherents have expressed every position on ET life and UFOs one can imagine.

Today, the greatest blind-spot regarding Disclosure belongs to the scientific community. Despite the evidence, it has steadfastly ignored the UFO mystery. Indeed, establishment science has hampered the search for truth by joining the chorus of naysayers who have made the experiencers of extraordinary events feel shunned, ridiculed, and possibly insane.

The situation regarding religion is different, if for no other reason than there is such a variety of them around the world. People’s spiritual beliefs may have certain things in common, such as the existence of a reality beyond the physical one of our five senses, but beyond that, almost anything goes.

Yet we should distinguish the science and religion from their institutions. Science, despite its institutional shortsightedness and conformity, is ultimately based on empirical observation and testing. That is why so many scientific conclusions, no matter how firmly believed, are called “theories” (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution). As the philosopher of science Bertrand Russell pointed out, scientific conclusions are always provisional. They are subject to change when new evidence is presented. This may be an emotional drawback for those who demand certainty in their lives, but Russell argued that it is an advantage over the long term.1

Religious truth, on the other hand, at least when it is based on revealed statements from Holy Books, is not so easily subject to modification. As a result, we may expect certain of those religions to push back when confronted with a reality as shattering as Disclosure. Many of their adherents will undoubtedly see this unbending quality as a strength, a firm shelter within the raging storm around them. Even so, there is reason to believe that many of the world religions will show the ability to adapt.

The End of Religion?

Many analysts have concluded that the announcement of intelligent life in the universe would destroy traditional religious faith. They point out that many of Earth’s religions continue to be heavily anthropomorphic, seeing humanity as the center of God’s plan. The announcement (or arrival) of sentient beings, therefore, would be too much for them to bear.

Other analysts, such as astrobiologist Paul Davies, theorize that visiting aliens might have discarded theology and religious practice “as primitive superstition,” and would persuade humanity to do likewise. Or, “if they retained a spiritual aspect to their existence, we would have to concede that it was likely to have developed to a degree far ahead of our own.”2

These assumptions seem to have become a mantra in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) community and elsewhere, repeated so often that it feels as though they were established fact.

No Fear

In 1994, researcher Victoria Alexander conducted a survey of clergy from Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish congregations that asked, “Would you agree that ‘official confirmation’ of the discovery of an advanced, technologically superior extraterrestrial civilization would have severe negative effects on the country’s moral, social, and religious foundations?” She concluded that ministers did not feel this would threaten their faith or that of their congregations. Religions would not collapse.3

Eight years later, in 2002, a Roper Poll similarly asked, “Would an announcement of extraterrestrial Intelligence precipitate a religious crisis?” Not only was the answer overwhelmingly “no,” it actually rose with age. Ninety-three percent of respondents over age 65 said it would not be a big deal. Roper concluded that “very few” Americans thought that an official government announcement on extraterrestrials would cause them to question their religious beliefs.4

In early 2010, another survey examined the issue, this time with respondents from around the world. The results put another nail in the coffin of the SETI claims of religious berserkers running amok over Disclosure.

The survey was designed by Ted Peters, a professor at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California, and was called The Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey. With his colleague Julie Froehlig, Peters interviewed 1,300 respondents, including believers from Roman Catholicism, mainline Protestantism, evangelical Protestantism, Orthodox Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Atheists and agnostics were also included. The survey tested this hypothesis: “Upon confirmation of contact between Earth and an extraterrestrial civilization of intelligent beings, the long established religious traditions of Earth would confront a crisis of belief and perhaps even collapse.”5

Here are some of the responses they received.

  • “Finding ETI, I believe, would be a profound and wonderful event.”
  • “Extraterrestrial religious beliefs and traditions will differ, perhaps greatly in some ways. However, they live in the same universe with the same God, and a similar array of religious responses and developments would likely have developed on their world.”
  • “Nothing would make me lose my faith. God can reach them if they exist.”
  • “I believe that Christ became incarnate (human) in order to redeem humanity and atone for the original sin of Adam and Eve. Could there be a world of extraterrestrials? Maybe. It doesn’t change what Christ did.”

The authors concluded: “Religious persons, for the most part, do not fear contact.”

A small minority did not believe in extraterrestrials. These respondents, in what can be described as the “rare Earth” camp, believe life on Earth to be so rare that a second creation of life is unlikely to have occurred elsewhere. Even this belief, however, does not necessarily make people fragile. One evangelical Protestant remarked, “I don’t think they are out there. But if they are, that’s cool.”

The only respondents who predicted the collapse of religious belief systems were self-described atheists and agnostics. Believers expected to carry on with their lives. Many even expected some form of Disclosure within their lifetimes.

The acknowledgment of Others demands that we look at our universe as larger, more crowded, and less Earth-centered than we have in the past. That, by itself, is not a fatal blow to any institution.

The Vatican Moves Toward Disclosure

The world’s largest church seems to be positioning itself to be at the forefront of Disclosure. The Vatican has long maintained several major astronomical observatories and a collection of radio telescopes. In recent years, its hierarchy has stated, in one form or another, that we have company. Perhaps they know something is afoot, or suspect its inevitability.

Until his death in 2008, Monsignor Corrado Balducci, long-time friend of Pope John Paul II, and the Vatican’s leading exorcist, had stated his personal opinion many times about the reality of extraterrestrial life. “There must be something between us and the angels,” he told an interviewer. “If there are other beings, they are surely more evolved than we are.... It is illogical and a bit arrogant to believe that we are the only intelligent beings in God’s creation.” Balducci believed that Jesus died for these beings, just as he did for humanity. “He is called King of the universe,” emphasized the Monsignor. “Never underestimate the great mercy or compassion of God.” Balducci was not speaking in purely theoretical terms. He stated more than once his belief that contact between humans and extraterrestrials was real.6

The Vatican’s astronomers have also expressed their belief in extraterrestrial life. In 2005, Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno concluded that chances are better than ever that humankind is facing a future discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence.7 In 2008, Vatican chief astronomer Father Jose Gabril Funes granted an interview to the L’Osservatore Romano newspaper that made headlines around the world. Father Funes stated his opinion that intelligent life may exist elsewhere in the universe, and that such a notion “doesn’t contradict our faith.”8 The same year, the Reverend Christopher Corbally, the vice director of the Vatican Observatory, said, “How wonderful it would be to have other life beyond our own world because it would show how God’s creation just flows out without abandon.”9

It is doubtful that all of these Vatican authorities would speak so openly if they felt they were in conflict with official doctrine. Quietly, a policy appears to have been decided upon.

Christians and Aliens

Some Evangelical Christians have placed the Bible squarely into the middle of the UFO issue. They have no problem believing UFOs are real, and some even welcome the idea of extraterrestrial visitors. One respondent of the Peters Religious Crisis survey wrote, “From an evangelical Christian perspective, the word of God was written for us on Earth to reveal the Creator. Why should we repudiate the idea that God may have created other civilizations to bring him glory in the same way?”

Yet this viewpoint is a minority among Biblically-based Christians. The Bible makes no reference to other worlds. Such Christians who do believe in UFOs usually interpret them as demonic, not as extraterrestrial. One respondent of the Peters survey spoke for many Christians when he stated, “I personally believe that Satan, the enemy of Jesus, will attempt to deceive the world into believing he is an ET and many will fall for it.”

Charles (Chuck) Missler is one of the world’s leading Christian ufologists. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and Air Force flight training, and holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering from UCLA. He also knows as much about UFOs as most non-Christian ufologists. He is well-informed about their history, the cover-up, and specific cases. He knows about the testimony from astronauts, radar controllers, and jet pilots. He simply explains UFOs and aliens through the lens of Biblical interpretation as inter-dimensional beings that have a physical reality.

In his book, Alien Encounters (coauthored with Mark Eastman), Missler argued that what we call UFOs are not aliens from another planet, but demonic entities described in the Bible. Read the Book of Genesis and you will find this passage: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the Earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the Sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they took them wives of all that they chose.”10

The offspring of these encounters were known as the “Nephilim” or “Fallen Ones.” Some ufologists interpret this passage as interbreeding between humans and extraterrestrials posing as “the Sons of God.” Missler replies that the truth is the other way around: what people think to be aliens are actually “the Fallen Ones.” They are not from another planet, but have been here all along. They oppose the will of God and seek to undermine God’s creation, humankind.

That UFOs often appear to be physical and are even tracked by the world’s militaries does not alter this. Such entities, according to Christian ufologists, can be completely physical, and there is nothing stopping them from appearing to use technology. During abduction experiences, they also manifest in physical form, yet this remains a form of spiritual attack.  Christian ufologist Dr. Michael Heiser describes these as most likely “an inter-dimensional (that is, spiritual) reality … one that can manifest in truly physical form, and not beings from another planet.”11

There is also a Christian school of thought in ufology that claims abductions can be fought with prayer, specifically by invoking the name of Jesus Christ.12 Not surprisingly, this has been rebuked by non-Christian abduction researchers, and is questionable by a review of abduction literature. One of the most famous of all abductees, Betty Andreasson Luca, was a devout Christian who experienced multiple abductions spanning most of her life. She also certainly did not interpret her experiences as demonic.

In the post-Disclosure world, many Christians will see the Others as demonic beings. To them, the Bible is not a matter of interpretation or conjecture, but the unerring word of God for all time. Christian author and former television producer Coleman Luck recalled that the New Testament speaks of a “great deception” to take place during the “End Times.” At that time, the Anti-Christ will be appear and will deceive most Christians away from their faith. He added that “an essential part of that deception will have to do with what appears to be alien contact.” Beings claiming to be extraterrestrials will seem to prove that Jesus was not the savior of mankind. “Ultimately,” Luck concluded, “that lie will be overthrown.”13

It is a clear that most evangelicals will interpret the “Others” according to strongly held Biblical-based beliefs. In this context, some of the most relevant passages in the Bible will be:

“For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”14 This is from Ephesians, a letter from the Apostle Paul, and one of the earliest Christian documents. What Paul appears to be saying here is that humanity’s great struggle is against spirits that are literally “in the heavens.” In the same letter, he refers to Satan as “the prince of the Power of the Air” and “the prince of the aerial host.”15

Another passage from Paul, this one from Thessalonians, will resonate with Christians in the post-Disclosure world, as it speaks of the arrival of “Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”16 Might the shock and awe of a more technologically advanced civilization be interpreted in this way?

Another passage, this one from Matthew, will surely be read in Churches around the world: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”17

Ultimately, many Christians will interpret a Disclosure announcement in light of the Book of Revelation, which discusses the Second Coming of Christ being preceded by natural disasters, famines, the arrival of the Anti-Christ, and a war in the heavens.18 During the Cold War, it was easy for Christians to interpret this last as a nuclear exchange between the United States and Soviet Union. However, the announcement of extraterrestrials could provide just as much fodder for interpretation. What this means is that Christians will be wary, at the very least, of a major Disclosure statement. They may well take on a more serious opposition as matters develop, expecting that the battle of Armageddon is at hand.

People do not change overnight. For better as well as for worse, during times of stress, during periods of great uncertainty and even fear, believers will hold more closely than ever to their faith. One key article of faith among Christians is that God will not allow his creation, humankind, to be possessed by dark, Luciferian forces. Instead, it remains within the power of all souls to accept God and reject Satan.

If the Christians are right about how they interpret the UFO phenomenon, it is hoped that the rest of humanity will thank them for their stand against a demonic presence masking as extraterrestrials. If they are wrong, or even incomplete, in their analysis, they will be seen as obstructionist or even dangerous, refusing to see the truth that stares them in the face.

Disclosure may not resolve this matter. The dispute may continue for a long time.

Other Faiths, Easier Transitions

Some faiths appear positioned to accept the reality of “Others” arriving or living on Planet Earth.

Belief in extraterrestrial life is integral to members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. In Chapter One of the Mormon Book of Moses, we find this explicit statement: “And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many. But only an account of this Earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you.”19

God tells Moses that there are other worlds and other peoples. These other worlds are God’s business, and need not concern Moses or people on Earth. Yet Mormons do believe that they will have interaction with extraterrestrials after their death. Similar to other Christians, and like people of other faiths, Mormons see themselves as children of God. Unlike other versions of Christianity, however, they believe they will become God—who, according to their belief, was once a man. Members of the Latter Day Saints believe they are Gods in training, so to speak, who will rule a world with its own population in their next incarnation. How this might affect their attitude toward extraterrestrial or interdimensional entities that are here on Earth would certainly be interesting.20

Islam, with 1.5 billion adherents, is the world’s second most-practiced religion (after combining all the various Christian faiths). It does not have a strong position on the existence of extraterrestrial life; belief one way or the other is not related to the fundamentals of its creed. But neither does the religion provide any roadblocks toward accepting an extraterrestrial or interdimensional reality. One respondent of the Peters survey stated, “Islamically, we do believe that God created other planets similar to Earth.” Another wrote, “Only arrogance and pride would make one think that Allah made this vast universe only for us to observe.”

The texts of the Koran give support to these positions. “All praise belongs to God,” states Islam’s holy book, “Lord of all the worlds.” One commentator on this verse continues: “Worlds of Matter and Force, worlds of Spirits and Angels, worlds of Beauty and Goodness, worlds of Right and Law—worlds that we can imagine or understand and worlds which we cannot comprehend even in our imagination.”21

The Islamic scholar Mirza Tahir Ahmad quotes another verse in the Holy Koran discussing the creation of “the heavens and the Earth, and of whatever living creatures He has spread forth in both ….”22 Islamic scholars have long commented on the extraterrestrial implications of this verse. During the 1930s, Abdullah Yusuf Ali commented, “It is reasonable to suppose that Life in some form or another is scattered through some of the millions of heavenly bodies scattered through space.”23

Passages such as these will certainly hearten Muslims in the face of the acknowledged presence of Others on our world, whether they be extraterrestrial, interdimensional, or anything else. Allah rules over all, and may introduce them to humanity at His discretion.

The post-Disclosure world will also prompt many Islamic scholars to re-examine the nature of the jinn, commonly translated into English as genie. The jinn are frequently mentioned in the Koran as creatures occupying a parallel world to that of humankind. Along with humans and angels, they are one of the three sentient creations of God. Interestingly, only humans and jinn have free will. The jinn live in their own communities and, similar to humans, can be good or evil. The Koran mentions that they are made of “smokeless flame.” In other words, a source of heat or light.

Unlike Christianity, where the devil is a fallen angel (Lucifer, or “light bearer”) who had rebelled against God, the Islamic devil is a jinn named Iblis. He was granted the privilege to live among angels, then rebelled against God, and ever since—like his Christian counterpart—has continued to lead humans astray, which he will do until the Day of Judgment.

We can easily see, then, how other beings that become known to humans in the world AD, might be interpreted as fallen angels by Christians, or as jinn by Muslims. In the case of Muslim believers, however, the attitude may well be less antagonistic than those of Christians, because some jinn are said to be good. Furthermore, according to Islamic belief, while the jinn Iblis may be a deceiver, he has no power to mislead true believers in God.

Although Judaism has little to say about the idea of extraterrestrial life, the religion, similar to Islam, should have little difficulty in assimilating it. According to the Talmud, there are at least 18,000 other worlds, although little else is said about them, including whether or not they are physical or spiritual. One kabbalistic book, the “Sefer HaBrit,” even mentions a planet called Meroz, where extraterrestrial creatures exist.

Buddhists, too, will have no problem assimilating the new reality. Buddhism has always understood that there are beings throughout the universe. This was taught by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, more than 2,500 years ago. One Buddhist response to the Peters survey was that “ETs would be, essentially, no different than other sentient beings, i.e., they would have Buddha Nature and would be subject to karmic consequences of their actions.” Another wrote: “As a Mahayana Buddhist, with a worldview that includes in scriptures Buddhas and bodhisattvas from many different world systems, such news would not be shattering theologically, though of course institutions and practices might reverberate.”

The same reactions can be expected from adherents of Hinduism, which also holds to the idea of multiple worlds and their relationships with each other. In addition to these material worlds, there is also the unlimited spiritual world, where all purified living entities live with a perfect conception about life and reality. Indeed, spiritually evolved humans have received guidance and help from these entities of the spiritual world.

New Religions

Given the sheer diversity in worldwide religions, there will be no single religious response to Disclosure. Some already agree with the premise, others are moving in that direction, others have never considered it, some embrace the Others as divine emissaries, and some assail them as the work of the devil himself.

No matter what the disposition of the many religious institutions, standing pat will not be viable. Change will be a bumpy ride, more so for some faiths than others. In the end, most of the world’s faiths will expand their message. God will be seen to rule over all life in the universe, although undoubtedly some faiths will continue to claim that humankind has a special place in God’s plan.

Religion has never been a static human endeavor. We have seen Christianity and Judaism compete for loyalty, and we have seen Christianity fracture into its many permutations. Other faiths, too—such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam—have gone through their own historical changes.

Undoubtedly, new religions will be formed in the post-Disclosure world, influenced by who the Others are and what we learn of them. They will also be influenced by some of the adept and facile minds that spring to take advantage of the instability.

At least one of these religions will explode into the public consciousness with the right message at the right time. It is possible that the top religion of the future is one you have not yet heard of. 

Richard M. Dolan (right) is the author of the ground-breaking historical series, UFOs and the National Security State. He has also published articles, spoken at conferences around the world, and appeared on numerous TV specials as an on-air expert. He lives in Rochester, New York.
Bryce Zabel has created five primetime network series, notably NBC's Emmy-winning UFO series  Dark Skies, and worked on a dozen TV writing staffs.  He has collaborated with producers such as Steven Spielberg and David E. Kelley. Zabel is a former CNN correspondent and was the first writer elected as chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences since Rod Serling. He lives in Los Angeles, California.  
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